All the 15 municipalities and districts in the Upper East Region (UER) will be enrolled unto the Rearing for Food and Jobs (RFJ) initiative this year, Mr Francis Ennor, the Regional Director of Food and Agriculture (MoFA), has said.
He said 10 municipal and district assemblies were already benefitting from the initiative, which was launched nearly two years ago and the remaining five would be roped in this year, 2021.
The areas which have benefitted so far are Kassena-Nankana Municipal, Bongo, Bawku West, Nabdam, and Kassena-Nankana West districts since 2019, and Bawku Municipal, Builsa South, Bolgatanga East, Pusiga and Tempane districts in 2020.
In an interview with the Ghana News Agency in Bolgatanga, the Regional Director disclosed that the remaining ones, namely Bolgatanga Municipal, Builsa North, Talensi, Binduri and Garu districts, would be added this year.
Mr Ennor noted that about 609 farmers, comprising 422 males and 187 females, were given small ruminants and cockerels under the RFJs programme in 2019, while 363, made up of 182 males and 181 females, benefitted from the initiative in 2020.
He said each of the beneficiary municipalities and districts received about 400 small ruminants, particularly sheep, and 2,000 cockerels and distributed them to farmers after they had been trained on how to keep the animals.
Touching on the Planting for Food and Jobs (PFJs) programme, the Regional Director said about 1.5 million 25-kilogramme bags of NPK fertiliser had been distributed to 136,724 farmers, comprising 106,195 males and 30,529 females.
The region further received 528,258 25kilogrammes bags of Urea, which were given to 69,599 farmers, 47,056 males and 22,543 females, he added.
Mr Ennor further said the region also received improved seeds of various food crops and vegetables, including rice, maize, cabbage, onion, pepper, tomato, cucumber, carrot and lettuce.
He said the MoFA, in collaboration with major stakeholders, worked hard to ensure that they blocked all avenues for fertiliser smuggling and noted that there was no single case of fertiliser smuggling in the region in the just-ended farming season.
“All the beneficiary farmers had enough fertiliser and improved seeds during the farming season. Unlike 2019, we did not receive any complaints of shortage of fertiliser across all the districts. Some even bought more and that is what they are using for the dry season farming,” he said.
He said the region recorded cases of Fall Army Worm, but there were enough chemicals readily available, which helped farmers to combat the pest at the early stage and got its impact significantly reduced.